North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the distribution of aid to the border city of Kaesong after the area was locked down last month to fight the coronavirus, according to a media report on Sunday.
Authorities raised the state of emergency to the maximum level for the city in July, saying they had discovered the country’s first suspected virus case.
A train carrying goods arrived in the “totally blocked” city of Kaesong on Friday, the official KCNA news agency reported.
Kim has been concerned “day and night” about people in Kaesong as they continue their “campaign for checking the spread of the malignant virus”, the report added.
Late July, North Korean authorities imposed a lockdown on the border city of Kaesong after discovering the country’s first suspected case of the novel coronavirus.
The man showed symptoms of coronavirus and was put under “strict quarantine”, authorities said, but the North has yet to confirm whether he tested positive.
If confirmed, it would be the first officially recognised COVID-19 case in the North where medical infrastructure is seen as woefully inadequate for dealing with any epidemic.
Kim Jong-un had earlier called for “maximum alert” against the coronavirus pandemic, during a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party, and warned that premature easing of anti-virus measures will lead to “unimaginable and irretrievable crisis”.
Kim also made “sharp criticism of inattention, onlooking and chronic attitude getting prevalent among officials, and violation of the rules of the emergency anti-epidemic work as this work takes on a protracted character”.
North Korea earlier had claimed to have no coronavirus infections, but it has taken relatively swift counter measures since January, such as closing its border and toughening quarantine criteria.